U.S. Begins Chase for 2011 Fed Cup Title

LOS ANGELES — Tennis Channel will provide exclusive coverage of the U.S. Fed Cup team’s first-round competition against Belgium in Antwerp, Belgium, this weekend, with comprehensive telecasts Saturday, Feb. 5, and Sunday, Feb. 6. Reigning US Open champion Kim Clijsters will lead Belgium into this weekend’s match after winning her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open last month. The battle between the 2010 Fed Cup runner-up and Belgium will consist of two singles matches on Saturday, and two singles matches and the doubles match Sunday. Tennis Channel will carry all matches live, beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET each day, followed by same-day encore coverage each evening at 8 p.m. ET.

Coverage from Sportpaleis Antwerp, Merksem, Belgium is as follows (subject to change):

Saturday, Feb. 5:

7:30 a.m. - Live Singles #1
9:30 a.m. - Live Singles #2
{11:30 a.m. - Instant Encore Singles #1}
{8 p.m. - Instant Encore Singles #1}
{10 p.m. - Instant Encore Singles #2}

Sunday, Feb. 6:

7:30 a.m. - Live Singles #3
9:30 a.m. - Live Singles #4
11:30 a.m. - Live Doubles
{8 p.m. - Instant Encore Singles #3}
{10 p.m. - Instant Encore Singles #4}
{12 a.m. - Instant Encore Doubles}

The United States and Belgium have faced each other six times in Fed Cup play, with the Americans winning all but one of those meetings. The most recent competition between the two countries took place in the first round of the 2007 Fed Cup, where the Americans overpowered the Belgians 5-0 in Delray Beach, Fla. However, Belgium previously defeated the United States 4-1 in the 2006 semifinal on Belgian soil. The United States enters this weekend’s matchup after reaching the Fed Cup final for the second-consecutive year against Italy in 2010, losing 3-1 to the Italians in Reggio Calabria this past December. The Americans lead all nations with 17 Fed Cup championships, the most recent in 2000 when they defeated Russia 5-0 in Las Vegas.

The 2011 U.S. Fed Cup team is captained for the third-consecutive year by retired American tennis star Mary Joe Fernandez, who won the Fed Cup championship as a player in 1996. Bethanie Mattek-Sands is the third-highest ranked American female player and reached last year’s Wimbledon doubles semifinals with Fed Cup teammate Liezel Huber. Melanie Oudin made headlines in 2009 when she became the youngest American since Serena Williams to reach the US Open quarterfinals by upsetting 2008 Olympic gold medalist Elena Dementieva andformer World No. 1 Maria Sharapova. Joining the U.S. Fed Cup squad for the first time since the 2009 final against Italy is World No. 4 doubles player and last year’s Wimbledon and US Open doubles champion, Vania King. Former World No. 3 doubles player Huber is a four-time Grand Slam women’s doubles champion and recently won the 2010 US Open mixed doubles title with Bob Bryan.

Belgium won its first ever Fed Cup title in 2001, when it defeated Russia 2-1 in the final. For the first time since 2007 Belgium claimed its Fed Cup spot by defeating Estonia 3-2 last April. The Belgian team is captained by Sabine Appelmansand features, in addition to Clijsters, Yanina Wickmayer, An-Sophie Mestach and Kirsten Flipkens. Tennis Channel ( the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle. A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community. It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights to the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Olympus US Open Series, ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, top-tier WTA competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup. Tennis Channel is carried by nine of the top 10 MSOs, Verizon FiOS TV, AT&T U-verse, DIRECTV, and DISH Network.


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